The American Indian Student Leadership (AISL) Club at Salt Lake Community College is hosting several activities throughout the month of November to celebrate and raise awareness for Native American Heritage Month.
“Native American Heritage Month celebrates the rich and diverse traditions, culture and history of the Native people,” explains AISL Vice President Joseph Du Shane. “Heritage Month is also a prime time to educate the general public about Native American people, and to raise a general awareness about the unique challenges Native people have faced.”
What started as a 1986 presidential proclamation creating American Indian Week eventually became National American Indian Heritage Month in 1990, before changing in 2009 to National Native American Heritage Month. This recognition has encouraged celebration and urged the people of the United States to learn more about the Native cultures.
The AISL wanted to honor Native American Heritage Month by giving the community and students the means to learn and recognize the Native American students at SLCC while providing a platform to share their culture and traditions.
“We want to give back to the community of SLCC by sharing our culture and celebrate the history of Native Americans, to be able to recognize and honor those who have made an impact for future generations,” says Calora Norton, AISL media officer and SLCC animation major. “We celebrate our ancestors and elders who have passed tradition and culture to younger generations.”
For Norton, the best part of planning this month of celebration was, “collaborating with other clubs, organizations, communities and to be able to have the students of SLCC take part in this celebration.”
The AISL has planned a full month of events at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus. Additionally, the club is supporting the Adopt-a-Native-Elder’s (ANE) 30th annual Navajo Rug Show and Sale Nov. 6-10 in Deer Valley Lodge in Park City.
“I’ve been involved with the ANE program since 2006. I have been volunteering and meeting the elders who are part of the program, and I choose to volunteer with this program that has brought me closer to my culture,” says Norton. “As a club, we chose to volunteer for the program because it is a great opportunity for us Native American students to help our elders.”
The AISL also invites the public and the community to join them for a Native American Indian Exhibition on Nov. 16 in the Lifetime Activities Center. This free celebration will be filled with Native American dancers and musicians, traditional foods and costumes, guests and cultural experiences and promises to be a memorable and inspiriting event.
Follow the AISL on Facebook for more about the club and Native American Heritage Month.